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Aqua-Spark Fish for Good


Scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and other interested parties from around the world met in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on 9 –11 December 2011 to explore the opportunities in setting up a global investment facility for impact investing in sustainable aquaculture.

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world, growing at an average annual rate of nearly 10% since 1970 and reaching a total production of 73.0 million tons in 2009. Recently aquaculture has started to attract the attention of impact investors, as it has great potential to be a sustainable solution to food shortages in the years to come. As a result of a three-day meeting, hosted by A-Spark Good Ventures in association with the WorldFish, exciting progress has been made in establishing a global network of investors and expertise in the establishment of a new and unique investment facility – Aqua-Spark – Fish for Good that will generate profitable investments while generating social and environmental benefits.

Globally there is increasing awareness of the need for a more sustainable supply of seafood to meet the world’s demand for aquatic products. Stresses on wild capture fisheries from pollution over-fishing and habitat destruction are now well recognized. While fishermen worldwide have to cope with diminished catches, consumers are faced with rising food prices, and aquaculture will need to grow to meet the increasing demand. The challenges of improving food security, poverty reduction and addressing environmental concerns through growing sustainable aquaculture businesses, particularly those that create social and environmental good in developing country communities, were the topics of special interest in the meeting’s frank and full exchange of ideas and experience.

During the event participants learnt about the opportunities and risks, shared experiences of community aquaculture investments, and discussed aquaculture as a solution or a problem. Best practices and learning points regarding shrimp, fish, shellfish and seaweed production were shared, to come up with a way to combine conservation, poverty alleviation, increased income stability and food security in a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable investment facility.

The agreement to establish the Aqua-Spark – Fish for Good investment facility couldn’t come at a better time. The absence of such a mechanism was recognized by all present as the missing link in harnessing business and science to translate ideas, research and community projects into sustainable solutions to the global problems of improving aquaculture for improving food security and reducing poverty while reducing environmental impacts.

Next steps for the group will include focusing on the development of the investment and management structures and setting up an incubation facility to assist in structuring opportunities for future development. This will draw on the wide expertise of the group, and interested investors. The fund is expected to launch in the middle of 2012.

If you’d like more information on the Aqua-Spark – Fish for Good initiative or on aquaculture’s role in reducing poverty and hunger contact A-Spark Good Ventures
(info@a-spark.nl) or WorldFish (F.Chandler@cgiar.org).




Policy Brief 2011-07 - Financing Smallholder Aquaculture Enterprise (pdf 306KB)
Program Brief 2011-41 - CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (pdf 719KB)
Proposal Brief 2011-16 - More Meat, Milk and Fish by and for the Poor (pdf 5.3MB)